Stokkete via Shutterstock Credit: Stokkete / Shutterstock

In the state of Connecticut, all nursing home staff should now be vaccinated if they don’t have a religious or medical exemption – and now the federal government is making it easier to check. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has launched an online tool to monitor the vaccination status of both staff and residents at nursing homes. There are more than 200 nursing homes in the state of Connecticut and they were the epicenter of most of the deaths in the earliest months of COVID-19, when there was no vaccine or and personal protective equipment was scarce. 

The state Departments of Social Services and Public Health are applauding the tool. 

“This excellent addition to the CMS website enables the public to check on vaccination rates at individual nursing homes in Connecticut and other states,” DSS Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, M.D., , who also serves as Gov. Ned Lamont’s senior adviser for health and human services.  “As our federal partners note, this will help people make informed decisions when choosing a nursing home for themselves or a loved one.”

Gifford added that Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes have been required to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for both residents and staff since May.  

The data provided at COVID-19 Nursing Home Data lags a few weeks. 

The most recent CMS data shows that the average vaccination rate for Connecticut nursing home staff is 84.7%.  Meanwhile nationally, nursing home staff are only 67.1% vaccinated.

The numbers in Connecticut vary widely depending on the facility. 

At Litchfield Woods Health Care in Torrington, only 55.2% of the staff were vaccinated, but more than 76% of the patients were vaccinated. At Apple Rehab in East Haven, 100% of the staff have been vaccinated and only 66% of the patients.

Middlebury Convalescent Home had 97.1% of its staff vaccinated and 100% of its patients. In Hartford at the Parkville Care Center, 100% of patients and 93.3 % of staff were vaccinated. All the data was provided as of Sept. 26. 

Nursing home workers in Connecticut had until Sept. 27 to get vaccinated.

“CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuing to use these data to monitor vaccine uptake among residents and staff and to identify facilities that may need additional resources or assistance to respond to the pandemic,” acting DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, M.D., said.  “We commend CMS for empowering nursing home residents and their families and caregivers with the information they need when choosing care providers. This tool gives people a new tool to visualize these data to help them make informed decisions.”